Womens Film and Female Experience, 1940-1950

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Andrea Walsh

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Women's Film and Female Experience, by - Praeger - ABC-CLIO

Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Book , Online - Google Books. Women in motion pictures.

1950s And 60s Gender Roles

Motion pictures and women. Molly Haskell explains that "if a woman hogs this universe unrelentingly, it is perhaps her compensation for all the male-dominated universes from which she has been excluded: the gangster film, the western, the war film, the policier, the rodeo film, the adventure film ". A romantic ideal of love is presented as the only "career" that will guarantee happiness and that women should aspire to. One path will be right and consistent with the film's overall morality and the other path will be wrong but it will provide liberation.

As the films' heroines were punished for following the wrong path and ultimately reconciled to their roles as women, wives, and mothers, Basinger argues that woman's films "cleverly contradict themselves" and "easily reaffirm the status quo for the woman's life while providing little releases, small victories or even big releases, big victories". Unlike male-centered movies which are frequently shot outdoors, most woman's films are set in the domestic sphere , [19] which defines the lives and roles of the female protagonist.

The themes in woman's and male-oriented films are often diametrically opposed: fear of separation from loved ones, emphasis on emotions, and human attachment in women's films, as opposed to fear of intimacy, repressed emotionality, and individuality in male-oriented movies.

This trend took place when Hollywood tried to incorporate aspects of psychoanalysis.


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In the medical discourse in films like Now, Voyager , Possessed and Johnny Belinda , mental health is visually represented by beauty and mental illness by an unkept appearance; health was restored if the female protagonist improved her appearance. The woman's films that were produced in the s during the Great Depression have a strong thematic focus on class issues and questions of economic survival whereas the s woman's film places its protagonists in a middle- or upper-middle-class world and is more concerned with the characters' emotional, sexual, and psychological experiences.

The female protagonist is portrayed as either good or bad. The extraordinary women are characters like Scarlett O'Hara and Jezebel who are played by equally extraordinary actresses like Vivien Leigh and Bette Davis. They are independent and emancipated "aristocrats of their sex" who transcend the limitations of their sexual identities. The ordinary women, in contrast, are bound by the rules of their respective societies because their range of options is too limited to break free of their limitations.

The ordinary woman who becomes extraordinary is a character who "begins as a victim of discriminatory circumstances and rises, through pain, obsession, or defiance, to become mistress of her fate. The conflict between them is resolved with the defeat of the bad woman.

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Woman's films allow their respective female protagonists to escape their everyday lives and their socially and sexually prescribed roles. Griffith , whose one- and two-reelers A Flash of Light and Her Awakening feature the trademark narratives of repression and resistance that would later define a majority of women's films. The woman's film genre was particularly popular in s and s, reaching its zenith during World War II.

In line with this perception, many woman's films were prestigious productions which attracted some of the best stars and directors. Production of women's films dropped off in the s as melodrama became more male-centered and as soap operas began to appear on television. The genre was revived in the early s. Write a customer review.

Woman's Pictures

There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Impossible or Robert Downey Jr. However, "older [male] actors make more than their female equals" in age, with "female movie stars mak[ing] the most money on average per film at age 34, while male stars earn the most at According to actress Jennifer Lawrence , " Women's cinema film directors and, to a lesser degree, the work of other women behind the camera such as cinematographers and screenwriters.

Women's Film and Female Experience, 1940-1950.

Some of the most distinguished women directors have tried to avoid the association with women's cinema in the fear of marginalization and ideological controversy. In the s, large banks assumed control of Hollywood production companies. Dorothy Arzner was the only woman filmmaker in this era. Shirley Clarke was an independent American filmmaker in the s.


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  • The National Film Board of Canada allowed many women to produce non-commercial films. Joyce Wieland was a Canadian experimental film maker. Early feminist films often focused on personal experiences. Wanda by Barbara Loden is a portrait of alienation. Resisting the oppression of female sexuality was one of the core goals of second wave feminism. Women film directors also documented the participation of women in anti-imperialist movements. Director Kathryn Bigelow works in male-dominated genres like science fiction, action, and horror. Nancy Meyers has had success with her five features: Julie Dash 's Daughters of the Dust was the first full-length film with general theatrical release written and directed by an African American woman.

    Since then there have been several African women who have written, produced or directed films with national release. A woman's film is a film genre which includes women-centered narratives, female protagonists and is designed to appeal to a female audience. Woman's films usually portray "women's concerns" such as problems revolving around domestic life, the family, motherhood, self-sacrifice, and romance. Although Hollywood continued to make films characterized by some of the elements of the traditional woman's film in the second half of the 20th century, the term itself largely disappeared in the s.

    Griffith 's silent films. Film historians and critics defined the genre and canon in retrospect. Before the woman's film became an established genre in the s, many of the classic woman's films were referred to as melodramas.